Iowa and Nebraska

Existing Service

Passenger trains in Iowa and Nebraska are scarce.

Today, the once-a-day in each direction California Zephyr serves a number of stations in the southern portions of the states. And the Southwest Chief serves Fort Madison.

Iowa and Nebraska should work with Congress to add at least one or two daily roundtrips along these routes.

Passengers boarding an Amtrak train at Creston IA, incouding an Amish family.

Passengers boarding an Inter-Regional train at Creston, IA.

Map of potential passenger rail routes in Iowa as listed in the Iowa State Rail Plan.

Iowa State Rail Plan

The Iowa State Rail plan suggests several routes to be explored.

Initial progress has been made on two corridors.

The Chicago – Omaha – Lincoln “Rock Island” Corridor

The former Rock Island mainline, now owned by the Iowa Interstate, has long been discussed as an important shared-use corridor in the Midwest.

It was included the the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and was listed as a “pillar” corridor in the 2021 Federal Railroad Administration Midwest plan. The plan assumes 8 daily roundtrips at a top speed of 90 mph.

A initial planning document for the full corridor was completed in 2013.

Iowa received federal funds in 2011 to launch a starter service to Iowa City, but has chosen not to persue that service. Illinois is working with Iowa Interstate to get the first segment from Chicago to Moline completed.

Cedar Rapids

Several studies have looked at the possibility of running commuter trains between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.

A better option might be to operate those trains as an extension to high-frequency Chicago – Iowa City trains.

Chicago – Dubuque

The East Central Intergovernmental Association completed an initial feasibility study of a Chicago – Dubuque route.

Establishing this service is dependent on Illinois launching service between Chicago and Rockford.

cafe car rural landscape blur

It’s a Beautiful Country

Let’s see it. Let’s clean it. Let’s build it. Let’s make high speed rail a reality.

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